If it works, don’t fix it
For many players, an early part of our basketball education starts with an in-depth lesson on shooting form, straight from the textbook. However, coaches are reluctant to make changes if the shot is going in anyway, leaving some marksmen with awkward but deadly releases. Players such as Reggie Miller and Peja Stojakovic flung their hands across their bodies as they released the ball, but they were still always lights-out from deep.
For other players, size and athleticism may have dictated their playing style growing up, leaving them to develop a reliable outside shot only later on in their careers. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a prime example of this, becoming a top prospect and then a solid NBA player on the basis of his defensive ability, despite releasing the ball with his elbows at an unusual with the ball in front of his face. Budding superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo has began to take more outside shots, but could still improve on the fluidity and speed of his release.
If your accuracy is beyond question, few fans will question your shooting form. For instance, Kevin Martin possessed a similar release to Lonzo Ball that began from the hip with a low release point, but received little attention for it due to his celebrated shooting efficiency. Joe Ingles has quietly become one of the most consistent three-point shooters in the League despite his elbows flailing outwards on the shot.
However, shooting form begins to matter if it limits your ability to take and make shots. Matt Bonner was an absolutely lethal shooter but had relatively few attempts due to the speed of his release, while the low, two-handed release of Shawn Marion was at odds with the rest of his uber-athletic game. As such, some players change their form mid-career, with varying degrees of success. Notably, the G League’s Chinanu Onuaku has turned things around in becoming a reliable free-throw shooter through the usage of the long-forgotten underhanded technique, while earning a call-up to Team USA.